Emergency ambulance cover
Not having the right ambulance cover can be costly
If you ever need an ambulance, the last thing you want to be worried about is how much it might cost. And with the average cost of an emergency transport being more than $1100*, it can be a very expensive ride if you don’t have adequate cover.
Ambulance on-the-spot treatment and transport is not covered by Medicare and even though some states provide subsidies, there are other states that require that you pay the full cost if you don’t have ambulance cover.
So here’s a summary that helps to explain what you are covered for, and what steps you can take if you’re after a higher level of cover.
*Source: Ambulance Victoria
Health insurance and ambulance cover
Australian Unity offers two types of ambulance cover:
- emergency transport
- paramedic attendance (on the spot treatment)
An emergency is when you are in a life threatening situation and in need of urgent assessment, resuscitation and/or treatment. For example, a cardiac arrest is usually coded as an emergency.For your transport to the hospital to be classed as an emergency, the ambulance account must be coded and invoiced as emergency transport by a recognised state ambulance authority.
You're not covered for ambulance rides that aren't clinically necessary, like non-emergency transfers between public and private hospitals, moving hospitals to be closer to home or travelling from home to hospital for tests.
This is where attendance by a paramedic is required, but no transport is necessary. For instance, if an ambulance paramedic is dispatched to assist after a minor accident and provides you with first aid, but you don't need to be taken to hospital.
What are you covered for?
Not all health funds provide the same level of ambulance cover, so it’s important to review the exact level of ambulance cover that you’re entitled to. If you hold a cover with us and would like to check your eligibility, please refer to your Fact Sheet or contact us.Australian Unity does not offer any ambulance-only covers
To check your level of ambulance cover, please review your
fact sheet or contact Australian Unity on 13 29 39
State by state variations
In addition to ambulance cover provided through private health insurance, some states also provide a level of ambulance cover:
Queensland and Tasmania have state-based ambulance schemes where residents are covered.
NSW and ACT provide ambulance cover if you have hospital or ambulance-only insurance.
Other states may offer some level of cover for pensioners and concession card holders. For everyone else, you may want to consider purchasing an ambulance subscription with your applicable State Ambulance provider (where available) so that you’re covered in non-emergency situations.
Australian Unity members with an eligible cover are covered for emergency ambulance transportation and/or paramedic attendance where it is not claimable through another source (e.g. Transport Accident Commission or Department of Veterans Affairs).
Victorian pension and concession card holders are provided with free transportation and on-the-spot treatment.
Victorian residents who want ambulance coverage that includes non-emergency transportation can purchase an Ambulance Victoria membership from ambulance.vic.gov.au
NSW and ACT
NSW and ACT provide ambulance cover if you have hospital or ambulance-only insurance. Send ambulance accounts to your health fund for processing, and if approved, they will forward the accounts to the applicable ambulance transport scheme. (Note that Australian Unity does not offer ambulance-only cover.)
Overseas Visitors Cover members are excluded, and cannot receive comprehensive ambulance cover in NSW or the ACT through Australian Unity.
NSW and ACT Pensioners get free ambulance services for all medically necessary trips within NSW or ACT and for emergency transport in QLD and SA.
Note that there is no reciprocal agreement with Queensland and South Australia, and no agreement for ACT residents in Western Australia, which means that you’re not covered if you need an ambulance in these states. In these cases, Australian Unity members with an eligible hospital cover are covered for emergency transportation and/or paramedic attendance.
Find out more about:
Queensland has an Ambulance Cover scheme, which provides all residents with free authorised ambulance services throughout Australia. To receive this cover, you need to demonstrate that Queensland is your principal place of residence.
Overseas residents living in Queensland who have valid work visas are also eligible for cover under the Ambulance Cover scheme, as long as they provide evidence of living in Queensland such as one of the following
- a letter from their employer
- a copy of a rent receipt
- a statutory declaration
Australian Unity members on an eligible Overseas Visitors Cover (excluding Budget Overseas Visitors Cover) who do not qualify to use the Queensland Ambulance Cover scheme described above can receive a benefit for ambulance transportation when it coded as an emergency by the ambulance service.
Find out more about the Queensland Ambulance Service
South Australian residents who want ambulance coverage that includes non-emergency transportation and interstate cover can purchase a South Australian Ambulance Service (SAAS) membership from saambulance.com.au
Ambulance Tasmania is subsidised by the Tasmanian State Government. Residents of Tasmania are provided with emergency ambulance care and non-emergency patient transport for free.
Note that reciprocal agreements do not cover non-emergency or inter-hospital patient transport outside Tasmania. And there is no reciprocal agreement with Queensland and South Australia, which means that you’re not covered if you need an ambulance in these states. In these cases, Australian Unity members with an eligible hospital cover are covered for emergency transportation and/or paramedic attendance.
Find out more about Ambulance Tasmania
Western Australian residents who want ambulance coverage that includes non-emergency transportation can purchase stand-alone ambulance cover from a private health fund that offers this type of cover. (Australian Unity does not offer ambulance-only cover.)
WA aged pensioners receive free ambulance transport that is deemed an emergency or non-urgent but medically necessary. Senior citizens aged over 65 receive a 50% subsidy on the cost of service. Veterans are covered by Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
In country WA, St John Country Ambulance Cover is administered by the local St John Sub Centres. Country Ambulance Cover is only available for country residents who live in the following postcode zones: 6041-6044, 6084, 6207-6208, 6211-6799. You can find out more on the St John Ambulance website.
Australian Unity members with an eligible cover are covered for emergency ambulance transportation and/or paramedic attendant services only.
NT residents, who want ambulance coverage that includes non-emergency transportation can purchase a St John Ambulance NT subscription from www.stjohnnt.org.au.